A store which sells used books. Many are small storefront businesses that feature a small selection of titles. Some are colossal megastores with every book you'd ever want. Most buy books for cash and/or offer discounts on other books in the store.

The best used bookstore on the planet is Recycled Books, Records and CDs in Denton, Texas. Yes, that is an objectively true statement. Learn to live with it.
A place where they sell (and buy) old books. Publishing companies don't like them because I can go buy a copy of, say, Isaac Asimov's Foundation without adding to their wealth. See also First Sale Doctrine.

In Brazil such a store is called a "sebo". Sebo is pork grease. Presumably, this is because a thousand-times-read book's pages are greasy.

By the first sale doctrine, according to a court decision in the early part of the 20th century, consumers are allowed to resell books. A publisher cannot put a restrictive license on his books preventing consumers from selling them after the fact.

And this is where the used bookstore comes in.

Used bookstores take used books of good condition in exchange for either cash or trade credit for more books. Usually, the store will offer more value in trade credit than in cash. This lets other patrons come in and buy these used books at more than the store paid for them but less than they would cost new, thus benefiting all sides of the equation.

Some writers object to used bookstores, but most of the objection is to the shady practice of selling stripped books, books which have been reported to the publisher as destroyed. This robs the writers and publishers of royalties from the book while enriching the new-bookstore employees who trade them in. Another objection is to the prominent placement of used books on the Amazon.com website, thus making it more attractive to a potential buyer to buy the used version than a new version.

Though chain bookstores such as Barnes & Noble have been killing off neighborhood bookstores that deal in new books, they have not affected used bookstores as detrimentally. As a result, many used bookstores remain in business, and any decently-sized town should have at least two or three.

One of the largest used (and new) bookstores in the world is Powell's, of the Pacific Northwest, ensconced in a multilevel warehouse building. Used bookstores provide excellent fodder for use with the BookCrossing book-dissemination website.

Ah, the used book store... for fans of literature in any form, for poor college students who need a text for their English class, for people who want to look more intelligent than they really are... the used book store is Heaven on Earth. It is a garden of literary delights. Tall shelves, and narrow aisles packed with more books than could be read in a single lifetime. The air is thick with the smell of old paper, not rotting, but aging quietly. All of them cheap.

When picking out a book from a used book store, it is important to pay attention to its condition. For books in the best condition, try to find a used book store that takes in books disposed of by the local library. In Philadelphia, the Friends of The Free Library operate such a book store behind the main branch. Examine the book carefully, making sure the binding is intact and all the pages are there. This is especially important with paperbacks. Few used book stores would be dumb enough as to stock a book without all its pages, but check anyway.

If faced with a choice between two copies of the same book, it is advisable to choose a book with the better condition, as long as the price difference is not too great. Making tradeoffs between price and condition are common issues with used books.

Once you have decided on a book, check the inside front cover. Usually, there you will find the price. Alternately, the price will be on the first page as you open the book. If you cannot find a price, you can ask the person behind the counter. Hand the person your money, and you are off.

Some used book stores also sell used records and CDs. Some sell new books along with the old. Still others will host readings, or discussions on literature. These factors do not determine the quality of the used book store. A good used book store has simply a wide selection, helpful staff, and books in good condition. Take a book, or ten home, treasure it, and take care of it. Make one feel wanted.

The Girl and a Used Book Store

I was standing there in a moment of indecisiveness on the side street of Kuta, Bali on a hot sticky afternoon with none whatsoever appealing options of where to go when this girl blurted out something about going to a used book store she accidentally saw the day before, somewhere in one of the nearby streets.

Breaking apart from the mainstream crowd we started walking a long stretch block on the narrow sidewalk amongst the cluttered traffic of motorbikes and cars not really sure if it was the right street. Still, I preferred getting lost rather than tolerating anymore lame jokes and self righteous remarks from the wannabes big shots vacationers.

My usual wandering mind started to play its funny tricks again as we walked the street. Somehow the weather forecast started to change drastically inside my head as the humid tropical heat started to evaporate and was replaced by the cool autumn breeze escorted with a soft voice of Suzanne Vega’s poetic folky song playing in the background. What triggered all that was probably my usual erratic banging in the head that connects useless series of separate events into one big scenario. Maybe it was from the search for this used book store and the fact that I have once lent her one of Haruki Murakami’s book while we were listening to one of Vega’s literate poem like lyrics. As for the autumn breeze, well I guessed it goes well with the music which by the way transcended from another episode of another long walk and staying up late in some Mediterranean spot.

The blast of car horns brought me back to reality and I heard her soft happy cried pointing to the book store across the street on our right side. The noise of the steel chimes broke out as we opened the door alerting the middle aged proprietor of his out of towner customers. We started to make small conversation about his book collections as she browsed around the store that only has one ceiling fan working desperately to fight the heat. Although not really in the mood of buying anything as I almost ran out of cash I did notice the store has quite a collection of old and new books. Sitting there in the heat I heard she mumbled some apology about having to make me wait while she went over some list of books that she was searching. I smiled within realizing how little did she knew that being in that book store she has taken me to my first and probably only comfort zone during this trip. Finding some of the book she was looking and paying for them we exchange greetings with the friendly owner and walked out the door.

Walking towards the directions of the rendezvous point with the rest of the group we realized that we still have some time to kill. Needing some cold drinks to ease the heat we stop at one of the sidewalk café and sat on the bar. As we sat there and sipping my cold Rolling Rock beer I knew then that her searched for an old used book store on some unknown street has salvaged me from closely having an unmemorable trip even if it was to happened on the last day just moments before we were to leave for the airport and flew back to Jakarta.

South Of The Border, West Of The Sun

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